Hearing Jesus

LoveBookends

I was prompted by a blog the other day to reread Luke Chapter Ten. It appears to be a chapter in three parts, emphasizing a single, critical message. In the umpteenth reading of this chapter, I had never quite seen it in this way before; I joyfully share my new insights with you here.

Part 1

The chapter begins as Jesus appoints and sends out 72 new disciples in pairs to preach the Good News. He clearly instructs them to stay in homes where they are welcomed in peace and where those inside are willing to hear the message of love and grace. They are told to wipe the dust from their feet and leave a town that rejects them. Jesus says, “The one who hears you hears me; the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects Him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16)

The 72 returned “with joy” at all they were able to do. “Even demons are subject to us in your name.” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Jesus was aware every moment his disciples saved someone and freed them from the enemy’s grip.

Yet he also reminded them what was important: “Do not rejoice that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven…Blessed are the eyes that see what you see, for I tell you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see, and to hear what you hear and did not hear it.” (Luke 10:20, 23-24)

Part 2

Behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Since it’s a lawyer asking the questions, Jesus responds with an appropriate question: “What’s written in the law? How do you read it?”

The lawyer responds predictably and correctly: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus, knowing what’s coming, answers: “You’re correct.”

But seeking to justify himself and entrap Jesus, the lawyer asks a follow-up question: “And who is my neighbor.”

What follows is the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37).

The encounter with the lawyer (and the parable of the Good Samaritan) is about whether the lawyer ultimately hears Jesus or rejects him, by showing or not showing mercy to his neighbors.

Part 3

The chapter concludes with Jesus’ encounter with Martha and Mary. Martha is distracted with the “doingness” of preparing the meal. She appears to ‘test’ Jesus by challenging him to rebuke her younger sister Mary who sits at his feet and listens to his teaching. The chapter ends with Jesus saying, “…one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.

Mary chose to hear Jesus.

The exciting thing I was allowed to “hear” in this reading was the incredible blessing of spiritual hearing and sight.  It seems the Lord reveals the mystery of His Word to me as He deems me ready to hear it.

At the same time, I believe much of God’s revelation has to do with love. As I am more willing and able to receive His love, I am transformed by it, and in the transformation I am more able to comprehend His Word.

On the other hand, if I close my heart to the grandiosity of God’s love, if I hold onto lifelong beliefs and cling to the safety of laws and rules instead of allowing transformation into the unknown – even if the unknown is the heart of Jesus and the arms of the Father – I will reject His blessing.

LoveBookends

In a hopeful note, there is another dinner honoring Jesus recorded by the apostle John. It was six days before his final supper, after Jesus had raised Mary and Martha’s brother Lazarus from the dead. (At that time, Martha revealed to Jesus “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.” John 11:27) Once again Martha served dinner – simply served. And Mary anointed Jesus with an entire bottle of fragrant, expensive perfume. (John 12:1-3)

Now, both sisters could hear.

 

For a poetry version of this post, see Hearing Jesus

Thanks to Matt Brumage and paulfg for the inspiration for this post

14 thoughts on “Hearing Jesus

  1. “At the same time, I believe much of God’s revelation has to do with love. As I am more willing and able to receive His love, I am transformed by it, and in the transformation I am more able to comprehend His Word.”

    Perfect theology, Susan! His love keeps our heart tender and teachable, which keeps our ears open. It starts and ends with love. Without encountering His love, we will become like the Pharisees.

    Really appreciate how you brought this out in Luke 10. Good stuff! Blessings.

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  2. ….”Love”…

    Poem – What is love?

    Two men came to Jesus
    With different motivations.
    They asked Him the same question
    Relevant to all the nations:

    Which is the Most Important?
    The answer was the same.
    Jesus did not manipulate
    He was not there to play a game.

    “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
    as He quoted from The Law –
    to fulfill and not abolish
    was His purpose, full of awe.

    Jesus did not make all Scripture
    Into one new great commandment.
    He summarized The Law and Prophets
    “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

    The Love of God is higher
    Than the love of any man.
    Receive from God, give back to God-
    Then to others, that’s His plan.

    The Love of God involves much more
    Than simply “love your fellow man.”
    Worship, trust, and pray to God,
    and obey Him – that’s His plan

    To worship and pray to neighbors,
    Whoever they may be,
    Or trust and obey our enemies
    Would be idolatry.

    The love of God is first and greatest,
    And the love of man is second.
    “All we need is love” are words
    of dead Beetles on the pavement.

    “The entire law is summed up in a single command”
    are not the words of Jesus our Salvation.
    It’s false teaching of Paul the Pharisee
    an “accuser of our brethren.”

    “Love” without God is Satan’s word through Paul
    in his chapter to the Corinthians.
    “I will show you the most excellent way”
    is the road to eternal perdition.

    Where is God in Paul’s chapter on love?
    Nowhere in view of the eye.
    Paul sings about himself like a Mexican Mariachi
    “I, I, I, I.”

    Jesus is The Most Excellent Way
    Not the words of a Pharisee.
    The words of Jesus are very clear.
    Jesus said, “You must follow ME.”

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    • Put 1 Corinthians 13 in context. Paul speaks of using Spiritual gifts without love. You must read it in context with chapters 12-14, then you will understand what he is saying.
      You might also want to read Matthew 26:6-13, Matthew 7:12, and Luke 10:25-28 to understand the importance of the two commands you speak of.
      Jesus spoke of love more than anything else. So yes, we must follow Him, even though love may be the most difficult thing we ever do.

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      • Hi Susan,
        Jesus said that one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

        Jesus was asked twice which Commandment is the greatest or most important one, (Matthew 22 and Mark 12)
        Both times Jesus answered quoting the same two commandments, from the Law of Moses

        “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [Mark 12:29-30, Deuteronomy 6:4-5]

        Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” [Matthew 22:37-38, Deuteronomy 6:5]

        Can you agree that Paul was wrong about which commandment is the Most Important One?
        Galatians 5:14, Romans 13:8-10

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        • Jesus wasn’t asked twice; it was recorded in two Gospels; one by John Mark, the other by the disciple Matthew.

          As Paul said about himself, “I am the worst sinner.” Paul was transformed by Jesus, forgiven and given grace. He was then made an apostle to minister to the gentiles. He preached the Lordship of Jesus and the importance of acting in love.

          If you are preaching against living out God’s love through the Spirit, then I wholeheartedly disagree with you, for this is what Paul meant. You must read to whole chapter to discern this. Did you not read the entire preceding chapters of Romans which are about loving God, about being a living and holy sacrifice to God, that, “this is truly the way to worship him?” And the verses in Galatians about surrendering to the Spirit?

          I can agree Paul was not perfect; none of us are as we are human. But I disagree he was from Satan as you stated earlier.
          As for the two commandments, depending upon which Gospel you read, Jesus said first is the greatest and the second is like it.

          Again, if you are trying to make a case against living out God’s love through the Spirit of Jesus, then based on the repeated commands of Jesus, you must be listening to the wrong commands.

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          • Why bring up your opinion about “what Pau meant”, etc.?
            Who appointed Paul an apostle, when, where, who said that? Can you quote me book, chapter, and verse please? (“Paul said so” is not enough – I need a second witness.) According to Jesus and the Apostles Jesus appointed, there are only 12 Apostles, and the 12ths is Matthias. There are no more.

            It’s a simple question – and Jesus was asked twice, by two different men. His answers were not identical, but Jesus did quote from the same two commandments in the Law.

            Which one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one ? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

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            • Matthew, it’s not really my opinion; it’s from years of reading biblical commentaries and scholars who have studied Pauline texts. You can read where Jesus made Paul an apostle in Acts 9:1-19. Jesus appeared before Saul and transformed him. Verse 15 says He made him a “chosen instrument” – in the Greek, it’s eklogē skeuos – to carry His name far and wide to the Gentiles. Verse 17, Ananias tell Saul he was sent to him so that he would “recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Those Greek words tell us Paul was chosen by divine grace as a vessel of divine favor. An apostle is one who is sent as a messenger.

              The eleven apostles voted to choose Matthias to replace Judas. Paul was chosen directly by our Lord Jesus to spread the Gospel to “both Gentiles and Kings and the sons of Israel.”

              Again, the Gospel writers record the same events from their own perspectives and in their own sequences for different audiences. This was one instance recorded by two different men.

              If you are asking me the question about which is the greatest commandment, I cannot separate the two because God is love. When I love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength and all my mind, I must then at the same time love my neighbor or I am not doing the first.

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              • Dear Beloved Sister Susan, chosen instrument of God,
                Your source is not Jesus and the Apostles Jesus chose in the text of the New Testament.
                Your source is, QUOTE “years of reading biblical commentaries and scholars who have studied Pauline texts.”
                In other words, your source is Paul, filtered through the traditions of scribes……

                Please quote me chapter and verse to indicate when and where Paul was appointed an apostle or recognized as an apostle, by whom. It wasn’t in Acts 1, 6, 9, 13, or 15. Matthias was appointed and later recognized as the 12th and final Apostle (Acts 1 & 6) . He never lost his apostleship. The Apostle James was killed, and never replaced. And in Revelation 21, the Apostle John writes of the twelve apostles of the Lamb written on the foundations of heaven.

                You wrote QUOTE: “An apostle is one who is sent as a messenger.”
                You are “begging the question.”
                No, that is YOUR definition, and a tradition of men – that is not the only meaning, and not even the primary meaning according to Jesus and the Apostles Jesus chose.

                “What is an Apostle?”
                Here is the answer based on the original sources:
                The words and actions of Jesus and the Original Apostles in the text of the New Testament.

                .1) Gospel of Mark – time lag between being appointed and being sent
                “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him…” [Mark 3:13-14]

                Three chapters later,
                “Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.” [Mark 6:6-7]

                .2) Gospel of Luke – time lag between being appointed and being sent
                “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon…..” [Luke 6:12-14]

                Again three chapters later,
                “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” [Luke 9:1-2]

                .3) Gospel of Matthew – which is organized by theme, not necessarily in chronological order.
                “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon…” [Matthew 10:1]

                Without any clear time reference, continuing on the theme of the Apostles, Matthew does record “These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions…” [Matthew 10:5] Matthew never said that the Apostles were “sent out” immediately after being appointed. If we didn’t also have the clear records in Mark and Luke, it would be a fairly logical assumption that Jesus sent them out right away, but it would still be just an assumption. In this case, that assumption would clearly be wrong. The Twelve Apostles were absolutely NOT sent out right away after being appointed Apostles, according to Mark chapters 3 through 6, and Luke chapters 6 through 9.

                So being an Apostle of Jesus involves being sent by Jesus, yes. But that isn’t the only meaning, or even the first and primary meaning. The first thing was “that they might be with Him” personally, together, for His entire earthly ministry, from the time of John the Baptist until Jesus rose to heaven. Jesus poured his life into the 12 Apostles for 3 ½ years very personally training them to be the leaders of the church, and Jesus chose Peter as first among equals.

                The NIV translation inserts the heading “Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas” for the passage Luke wrote in Acts 1:12-26]. The NIV headings were not part of the original text, and sometimes they can be misleading, but in this case I believe the heading is right on.

                Jesus and the Original Apostles knew what an Apostle is better than anyone else in the world. Why is this a strange idea? Why do so many people frequently attack and tear down and dismiss the Original Apostles, particularly Peter, as if they were all incompetent, stupid, and wrong in so many ways, and they didn’t even know what an “Apostle” was? The answer to that question is, they have been listening to the voice of Paul, rather than the voices of Jesus and the Original Apostles.

                As we consider the question “what is an Apostle”, we should carefully listen to the words of the leader that Jesus personally appointed as first among the Apostles, and trained personally for 3 ½ years, Peter.

                “It is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” [Acts 1:21-22]

                Neither Paul, nor James, nor Luke were with Jesus and the Apostles the whole time, so they were not qualified to be a “witness with the Apostles of Jesus’ resurrection”, which is what it means to be an Apostle. Matthias was qualified, appointed, and later recognized as part of The Twelve. No one except Judas ever lost his apostleship.

                Responding to a question from Peter,
                “Jesus said to them:
                …you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Matthew 19:28]

                We cannot prove that Judas was present at that time, and we cannot prove that Matthias was absent at that time when Jesus spoke those words. Even if Judas was physically present, as we all realize now, he was not a true follower of Jesus. And even if Matthias was physically absent at that particular occasion, Jesus is still establishing the basic qualification for having one of the twelve thrones as being “you who have followed me,” not someone who will follow Jesus in the future, like Paul, James, Luke or anyone else in the world.

                At the Last Supper, Jesus said to His Apostles:
                “You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred on one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Luke 22:28-30]

                Was Judas present when Jesus spoke those words? Even if someone wants to be argumentative and say we can’t prove that Judas wasn’t there at the time, we certainly can’t prove that Judas WAS there. Judas obviously didn’t stand by Jesus in his trial, as the whole world knows. But that was the requirement Jesus gave to “sit on thrones:” “You are those who have stood by me in my trials.” “You”, speaking to His 11 Apostles who had been walking with Him faithfully for 3 ½ years. Not others in the future who will follow the risen Jesus Christ. Notice that at the Last Supper, when Judas lost his throne and Matthias was definitely absent, Jesus chose to speak of “thrones” rather than “twelve thrones” as he had previously.

                The Apostle John recorded about the New Jerusalem,
                “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” [Revelation 21:14]

                The Apostles are 12 faithful eyewitnesses who walked with Jesus during His entire earthly ministry, and Matthias is the 12th. That’s the short version of my definition of “what is an Apostle.”

                You wrote QUOTE:
                “If you are asking me the question about which is the greatest commandment, I cannot separate the two because God is love.”
                But you are not quoting Jesus, giving a direct specific answer, speaking twice, in complete consecutives sentences.

                “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [Mark 12:29-30, Deuteronomy 6:4-5]

                Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” [Matthew 22:37-38, Deuteronomy 6:5]

                So which one of the two is most important – the one in Deuteronomy, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 – according to JESUS in His own words?

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  3. Matthew, in the spirit of love, peace, kindness and gentleness, I think we must agree to disagree about Paul. I believe he was a sinner whose heart was transformed by Jesus, just as many of us have been transformed. You believe otherwise. I believe love cannot be separated from God for that is who He is at the core, and why He sent Jesus to us. I pray we continue to learn from the Spirit, to grow in excellence in God’s eyes, and love Him and our neighbors in equal measure, as I believe Jesus commanded us to do.

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  4. Dear beloved sister / chosen instrument Susan,

    Obviously, I don’t know you at all. However, I sometimes have “impressions” in The Spirit, where I can see things far away and overhear conversations. I don’t claim to always be accurate – I may be mistaken. But I believe this is a gift from God, for me to use to encourage people to draw closer to Him, and to know that God always hears us – Yahweh the Most High God, Father of our Lord God Jesus Christ our Savior, who sent His Holy Spirit to His followers.

    Yesterday, I had the impression that you read my post to you as “Eve” in The Garden, and you said to yourself “he’s right.” So I was a bit surprised today to find you had deleted it. Based on your writings on this thread, you are not ignorant or stupid or lazy.

    Maybe like Eve, you have just been listening to the wrong voice for so long that you can’t hear or understand God’s voice when He speaks to you. How many trees were in the middle of the Garden Eve, and which one was the first one?

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    • On the contrary, Matthew. In fact, you are mistaken. We each encourage people in our own way to draw closer to God.
      Rest assured, I have been listening to the Spirit’s voice, and know when I am hearing condemnation. And God is not a God of condemnation but of love.

      I have attempted to engage you in faith and love, and can only leave you again with a prayer that both our eyes and ears will be open to His voice. At this time, I must close this conversation and leave our respective teaching up to God.

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